Today, we are constantly bombarded by chemicals and toxins in our everyday environment. Chemicals found in the air, water, household cleaners, laundry detergents, cookware, cosmetics and pesticides-all are potentially harmful to our bodies.
What do toxins do in our bodies?
- Carcinogenic chemicals: cause or aggravate cancer
- Hormone-disrupting chemicals: mimic, block or interfere with hormones that regulate fertility and the thyroid. These can lead to reproductive defects, reduced fertility, as well as neurological, behavioural and developmental problems.
- Respiratory toxins: affect the breathing system. Can cause respiratory illnesses, such as bronchitis, pulmonary fibrosis, emphysema, cancer, and general breathing problems.
- Neurotoxic chemicals: cause damage to the brain and lead to developmental/ behavioural disabilities, particularly in children because their brains are still developing.
- Reproductive toxins: can affect reproductive ability and sexual function.
In Hong Kong, mercury toxicity is a hot topic. Mercury is accumulated mainly from seafood sources, amalgam (silver) fillings and fumes from coal-fired power stations. In the human body, mercury is a poison. We can tolerate a certain level daily because we excrete and detoxify it by the liver and kidneys to some extent. However, there is a tendency for mercury to accumulate in fatty tissues. In the United States, the FDA has cautioned pregnant women, lactating women and those of child-bearing age not to eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tile fish. All of these are contaminated with methyl mercury, the most dangerous form of mercury, which can cause birth defects and infertility. There is emerging evidence supporting the theory that autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are linked to exposure of mercury during critical developmental periods.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of chronic low-level exposure to mercury (the type associated with contaminated seafood) include:
- Poor concentration, senile dementia
- Abnormal state of emotional instability, irritability
- Prolonged unexplained fatigue
- Frequent unexplained headaches or migraines
- Allergies, food sensitivities
- Neuro-psychiatric disturbances, such as anxiety and depression
- Tingling or prickling of the skin
- Increased risk of Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease
- Developmental delays in infants and children
- Frequent sore throats, tonsillitis, fungal or yeast infections
- Decreased immunity
- Muscular weakness, tremors, paralysis
- Thyroid imbalance
The first step is to assess for heavy metal toxicity in your system. Blood testing is only effective if the toxic exposure is very recent. For chronic long-term heavy metal exposure, a hair mineral analysis or urine assessment test is recommended. If there are high levels of heavy metals in the body, you need to identify the sources of contamination and to remove them, if possible. Embarking on a detoxification/ chelation program to specifically remove the heavy metals from your body would be the next step. Click here to find out how Dr. Yik can help you.